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Wednesday Kickoff: UEFA move game from Kiev; Euro-based players back on El Tri; and more

UkraineProtests1 (AFP)


It was only a matter of time before the fiery battle in Ukraine’s capital of Kiev would affect the soccer world.

Moments before Spanish club Valencia were to board a flight to Kiev, UEFA stepped in and moved their upcoming Europa League match against Dynamo Kiev to Nicosia, Cyprus. According to reports, Kiev were reluctant to move the match at first but finally came to an agreement over the new venue.

The match will now take place at 7pm local time at GSP Stadium in Nicosia.

Violent clashes in the last 24 hours between protesters and police in Kiev have reportedly left at least 25 people dead and many more injured on both sides. The leaders of the protest movement and the President of Ukraine have failed to come to an agreement to end the fighting.

The U.S. Men’s National Team is still scheduled to play Ukraine in the eastern city of Kharkiv on March 5, though the team and the U.S. government are monitoring the situation.

Here are some more stories to start off your Wednesday:


Some of Mexico’s top players in Europe have been recalled into the Mexican National Team for their final FIFA-date friendly before the 2014 World Cup.

Manchester United’s Javier Hernandez, Bayer Leverkusen’s Andres Guardado, and Villarreal’s Giovani Dos Santos were among eight European-based players named to El Tri’s squad for a friendly match against Nigeria on March 5 in Atlanta. Joining those three are embattled goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, Javier Aquino, Hector Moreno, and FC Porto duo Hector Herrera and Diego Reyes.

It’s the first time that the European-based players have been called into a Miguel Herrera coached team, after the El Tri boss decided to select a domestic-based squad for the World Cup qualifying playoff matches against New Zealand.


In only their second-ever appearance in the Copa Libertadores, Santos Laguna are already looking like regulars in the competition.

Facing one of the tournament’s most successful sides, Peñarol of Uruguay, Santos Laguna came out with a 2-0 victory on the road to jump five points clear at the top of Group 8. Jonathan Laserda broke the deadlock with a first-time finish in the box in the 54th minute off a cross from teammate Darwin Quintero. In stoppage time, Jose Abella finished off the match on the counter-attack, scoring past Peñarol goalkeeper Juan Castillo to win the match for the Mexican club.

Elsewhere in Copa Libertadores action, Ecuadorian side Independiente Del Valle drew with Chile’s Union Española, 2-2. Union Española’s Cristian Chavez, formerly of Lanus and Boca Juniors, scored and assisted in the draw.


Barcelona midfielder Xavi equaled the 144 games-played record in the UEFA Champions League set by Raul, the most games played in the competition by a Spaniard. (REPORT)

Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has earned his first call up to the Scotland National Team since 2012. (REPORT)

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer believes Julian Draxler should remain at FC Schalke instead of moving away to Arsenal or even Bayern. (REPORT)

Nearly three-fourths of the Stadio Olimpico will be closed for AS Roma’s match on March 1 against Inter Milan because of racist chanting from fans. (REPORT)

Arsenal’s 18-year-old winger Serge Gnabry has stated he wants to continue playing for Germany in the future, despite also being eligible to play for Ivory Coast through his father. (REPORT)

West Ham’s Ravel Morrison has agreed to move to Queens Park Rangers in the English Championship on a 93-day loan. (REPORT)


What do you think of these reports? Do you agree with UEFA’s decision? Think that it should have been made much sooner? Think that El Tri’s European-based players can blend into Herrera’s system?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. This IMO is the most important friendly of the World Cup cycle (be interested in hearing other suggestions as to a more important friendly match) How could we be at risk of not playing the game. The unrest in Ukraine started months ago and there was always a good chance the protest could cause unrest and instability in the country. I realize a lot goes on into finding solid opponents in a friendly but we are still the USA, a respectable team playing in the World Cup but not dominant. Ateam that has some name recognition and was willing to play on the road. There are like 50 countries in Europe and half of them have decent soccer teams. Gulati, please don’t play the “this is an unfortunate development, due to unforeseen events…

  2. Love the Plot-litical stuff. This will be happening more and more in the buildup to Brazil. Politics and Sports clash to create new “issues” and solve old ones. Maybe the people of Brazil/Ukraine/World will become so angry at their government, they will just create peaceful havoc and not allow the games to be staged. A tipping point coming? Anyway, I’m sure the loving US Government and informed populace are on the side of good, right? Take your kids for their mercury filled vaccines and then learn about VAERS. ????

    • Vaccines don’t have mercury in them. Some used to have a form of mercury as a preservative, but that was a form of mercury that has been well-established with years of research to be harmless.

      • Which isn’t to say the pharmaceutical industry isn’t as bad as the Oil industry, rubber industry, mercury industry or any other industry. Really, if it’s an industry where money is to be made, it’s probably corrupt as he’ll at the expense of human life in one way shape or form

    • I think people should read Huxley and Orwell and see how unsettling the reality of our world is becoming today.

      Peaceful protests can be effective I believe, but only with massive numbers. Just look at the Wall Street protests and how castrated that became even with the numbers there were in place in the major cities. Ppl need to become more aggressive in how far their willing to take their approaches and more radical in their conceptions of how corrupt the system around them may/ or may not be in order for people to “wake up” and supply the necessary numbers to make it happen.

      Globalization is a inevitability, but the process in which it takes place and how much civilians’ liberties are abused and how corrupt our institutions become in it wake are all subject to how far the people are willing to let them do so

      The Syrian war didn’t happen because the public adamantly said no with startling unification. If we applied that to every issue we felt strongly about, “change” could really happen.

      • for your consideration…

        i was going to say something long winded but ill just say we really need to be looking at what happening in our back yard in regards to everything you wrote about.. Freedom , human rights,.. etc/ before we thump our chests and proclaim that we are the land of the free.

        by the way the occupy movement ended when the media turned on it…

        and who funds the media….

      • Ted Turner is the “number one source in news” and simultaneously is “very funny” and really “know(s) drama”

      • Hey, KA, I’ve been reading your comments throughout the thread. I gotta say, we’d probably get along, see eye to eye on most of this stuff, it’s true.

        BUT…. Let’s cool it a bit. I definitely didn’t see a problem with your initial comment (or those in that thread) appearing on SBI; it’s relevant. But I, for one, sometimes turn to soccer as a bit of a release from real world stuff. I mean, it’s a game, and that’s what games are for. So while I agree with you on the Orwell/Huxley stuff (it’s terrifying and true), it’s sometimes nice to be able to turn to something like soccer and not have to think about it for a little bit.

      • Your right

        I went way far off base from what I was originally talking about and there’s a point when it becomes inappropriate and I crossed that threshold. I just get pretty passionate. Sorry to those who I offended

  3. Discriminatory chants not racist. Please get it right. The Italians thought a good first step to combat and fine teams if fans say mean things about people from different parts of the country. Racism is step 2 in Italians backwards thinking.

  4. Yet our own federation does not want to move this game yet. Don’t know what the hell they are waiting for. It’s ridiculous that we put our players in these situations for what???? What are they trying to do exactly?!?!?!

    • The problem is that it probably helps for force majeure purposes for the host country to admit their state of affairs but the Ukrainian government has an interest in claiming they are in control and the game will be safe to go forward. At which point we have to make our own decision without the implicit backing of the host government.

    • If they insist on going their at the end of the day despite the heavy coverage in the media, It’s because of a Julian Green. And if that is true, I hope they go and protesters figure a way to get the message out into public view. ESPN will probably do a heck of a job censoring anything though. Their very adept at that

      • What the heck does Julian Green have to do with anything? He won’t even be traveling with the team, if they do go.

        Their, their now.

      • You thing the USSF is willing to risk the safety of its players just to impress an 18 year old bench warmer?
        I’ve read some stupid things around here but this one beats them all.

      • Kingsly, you are loosing people left and right with nonsensical rants. Sad part is I was leaning, slightly, in your corner even though I recognized your initial comment was overly simplistic.

    • This was an issue with Bahrain F1 a couple years back. The government kept saying it would be OK and Bernie Ecclestone went along. Only when there was violence during a GP2 race a few weeks before the F1 race did it get called off.

      In that sense, the US could use UEFA’s decision regarding the club game as their basis for pulling out.

      I think it’s important that we take swift action to see if we can line up something else. They go along with the ride with Ukraine and we might end up without a game until camp. That would be unwise.

    • From what I’ve heard, there really aren’t any protests being held near where our game is to be played. Central Ukraine is where the action is happening, and we will be playing in the east.

    • It’s not in Kiev. I can’t find much about violence in Kharkiv. There is some news from December but…. meh. It could be that simple.

      • It is purely a location thing. That’s why Spurs’ match today in Ukraine hasn’t been moved – very far from Kiev, pro-gov’t region.

  5. Ukrainians want a democratic government and are willing to die for reformation, all the while, all of western society is in Sochi, Russia, the main financer and supporter of Ukraine’s current regime. How disgustingly hypocritical.

      • Ppl who have your callous, dismissive and complacent attitude is exactly what empowers the thugs that runs our governments and social institutions. There’s no time and place for bringing awareness to those who might not have an inkling to things they may otherwise be deprived of.

        If you don’t like what I have to say, fine. But don’t make it a point to go out of your way to establish want you feel should and shouldn’t be said by me on this site. You should use your critical thinking skills towards things that are unrelated to soccer sometime.

      • Did you get yelled out of The Nation’s comments or something? The great thing about the internet is the wonderful niches created. Thanks for slightly sullying this one!

      • You are way out of line. How shrill and smug of you. You feel comfortable lecturing KA’s on his/her critical reasoning skills, after KA typed only eleven words? With those eleven words, you can confidently deduce KA has no knowledge of anything outside soccer? KA was agreeing with you BTW.

        Thank you for pointing out the hypocrisy Clouseau. Your diatribe has brought NOTHING to the conversation, has educated NOT A SINGLE PERSON who already has many sources information on the topic other than you. If you aim is to educate everyone else, perhaps you could have come up with a better, more effective way to address that audience. Maybe link to an article?

        Since you are outraged by the hypocrisy of the Sochi Olympics, what are you doing about it, other then flexing your muscles on a soccer site? Isn’t there a cooking site whose readers you could hector?

      • I got as much, though not everything you said.

        I frequent many sites. I am me. I’m not saying I’m more knowledgeable or superior then anyone else, but I feel, because of my beliefs, I AM socially obligatory to make human rights issues more apparent to those who may not have been aware to them before and I certainly won’t fail to capitalize on doing as such when their sports related on on a sports site. To not do so would be the real hypocrisy, for me at least

      • What is so wrong with the original post? It is very much related to the story that we all clicked on to read. Further, it is a different and thought provoking perspective.

        You might agree or disagree, but why would someone say that it does not belong here? It’s not like he was promoting or discrediting Obama or other random political bs. It’s just his take on the situation in Ukraine and how that relates to the biggest sporting event that happens to be going on simultaneously.

      • A personal view merely being related to a story doesn’t necessarily make its expression appropriate for this comments section. I’m sure everyone can think of examples that would demonstrate this without my needing to type them out.

      • I’m sure they could too, but I am struggling to figure out why this would be one of those occasions. It is relevant to the original post, and his point was made without degrading others or other opinions or anything of that nature.

      • Why do you think you know more than other readers here about the demonstrations in Ukraine, or about the alignment of the different factions in the dispute?

        By the way, did you object so strenuously on soccer sites about the participation of Western society in the Beijing summer games — in a country that maintains an actual occupation of Tibet, suppressing democratic, nationalist aspirations of the native population, some of whom have also died in expressing their protests?

      • I advocate that everyone stream their viewings of any sports related content from third party sources instead of regular viewing on TV. And I don’t demonize those who can’t or won’t, but the one thing I won’t do is suppress my 1st amendment rights, wherever, whenever. I hold the same policy towards veganism or any other socio-political beliefs I hold and practice

      • Just wanted to point out that First Amendment rights don’t have anything to do with this site. The Constitution would not protect you from Ives deleting your comments if he chose to.

      • Kingsly, I mean this genuinely so please don’t get upset. I like what you have to say. But calling people callous is not going to rally awareness to the cause. It’s a personal emotional reaction that turns potential allies off and is therefore self-defeating. I understand this is, to say the least, a heated situation. But the more that you can say what you need to say without getting personal, the more likely it is that what you have to say will not be taken down. That’s the practical truth, aside from it being generally a better way to be, IMO. I apologize if this comes off as preachy – that is not my intention.

        Just to defend slow for a moment, I think he is expressing primarily not necessarily his personal view of what should be said on this site, but his understanding of what is appropriate for this site based on how it has been managed in the past by the guy who runs the site. Ultimately it’s not up to you or me or slow but Ives.

      • Knowing your post history. I can’t help but shake my head and call you a hypocrite. His post in regards to a situation in a country where the USMNT is set to play a game are just as relevant to soccer as your anti german AMERICAN posts.

        If he can’t post here then neither should you.

      • My opinions aren’t anti-German (the fact I extend those opinions to Johansson demonstrates this; plus in terms of my heritage I am also 1/4 German). My opinions are also irrelevant to this discussion.

        I was just stating that this is a soccer website where people come to discuss soccer and we should keep politics out of it. There are many many places on this vast internet where people can discuss the situation in Ukraine.

      • I can assure you, I won’t be jockeying for a seat in the house for any political party anytime soon. These are human rights issues first and foremost.

      • I actually agree with your viewpoint – just not with you airing it in this forum. (Although if you are saying we should have boycotted the Olympics I don’t agree with that)

        I also think your attitude is condescending – people here don’t need you to “educate” them on the situation in Ukraine.

      • “make apparent”, “bring awarness” never said “educate”, which I purposely avoided because I didn’t want to sound condescending. But I apologize

      • not necessarily 100% possible to go to other Ukraine websites to discuss events as you suggest.

        If Oboma can turn the Winter Olympics into a gay issue, and readers can point out humam rights violations in Qatar as they prepare for WC 2022, then why can’t KA bring up events in Ukraine if they have already become a football issue?

        It seems as if it aint easy to separate the crime from the punishment.

      • I agree with Kingsly’s OP; I agree with your view on this post not belonging here; but ultimately this is Ives’ site so if he thinks this stuff should stay, then it should stay.

      • And they still lie. But everyone can have their own opinion and state otherwise at the end of the day. My intent was for people to read my comments for the sake of consideration at the least, and now that I’ve seen people conversing who I may have who I’d never seen before, I feel satisfied, which isn’t to imply I’m “smug” about anything which someone implied

    • I’ve boycotted the Sochi Olympics on TV because it’s a repressive regime that I think even used the leadup to flex its muscles. I like my sports but sometimes you have to draw a line.

      Ukraine is more complicated, it’s a divided country and I heard polls where 40%+ of people back the protests and 40%+ don’t, basically along Russian versus Ukrainian lines. That starts to sound like Syria/ Iraq/ Yugoslavia, etc., a potential civil war situation not easily fixed.

      I think in this fluid and dangerous and divided a situation our smart decision is to cancel.

      • I plan on watching Brazil, Russia 2018 I’ll reevaluate in 4 years, Qatar who knows if they even host it in reality.

        Sorry, I just felt like Russia was obnoxious in the buildup. I can tolerate political variability but not being jerks.

      • I applaud, TIV. One can only look to you as an example of putting their “money where their mouth is”

        I also haven’t seen a bit of it but if I did, I would just stream them online. In fact, I believe everyone should stream everything online a person has the resources

    • you really should do the research before jumping to conclusions on a soccer board

      the issue in ukraine is way too complex generalize they way you did

      shame it will possibly affect our friendly

    • Kingsly, while I believe that this is tangentially related to a legitimate soccer so can be posted here, I also believe that you are making an OVERLY simplistic comment on VERY COMPLEX situation. No offense, do not let your naivete betray you.


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